The Federal Government on Wednesday arraigned the leader of a group, Peace Corps of Nigeria, Mr. Dickson Akor, on 90 charges, including money laundering and obtaining money under false pretences through extortion from innocent Nigerians.
The allegations involved about N1.2bn.
The Incorporated Trustees of the Peace Corps of Nigeria were charged as the second defendant alongside Akor.
The group is seeking to transit to a government-owned paramilitary organisation.
A bill establishing it had been passed by the National Assembly and was waiting for the President’s assent before the group’s leader was arrested by the police and subsequently charged.
Akor pleaded not guilty to all the 90 charges when read to him before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.
His “not guilty” plea was also recorded for the second defendant.
The case marked, FHC/ABJ/CR/45/2017, was filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation on March 14, 2017.
Shortly after the plea of the defendants were taken, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aminu Alilu, urged the court to give a date for the commencement of trial while Akor should be remanded in the prison pending trial.
In response, defence counsel, Mr. John Ochokwu, informed the judge that his client had filed a bail application.
The judge gave Ochokwu a go-ahead to move the bail application, which was opposed by Alilu.
Justice Tsoho, after the hearing of the bail application, took a break to deliver his ruling.
The judge later returned to the courtroom to grant bail to Akor in the sum of N10m with one surety, who must be an eminent personality and possessed landed property in Abuja.
The judge also granted bail in the sum of N20m to cover for the second defendant.
Among other bail conditions, Akor was by the court’s ruling, required to deposit with the court, his passport as well as other travelling documents, two recent passport photographs and a copy of the title documents of his proposed surety’s property.
The judge fixed May 23 for the commencement of trial.